Can Depression Be Hereditary?
Depression can be hereditary or not. Nowadays, the majority of people are complaining about having symptoms that relate to depression. Therefore, it is becoming difficult to trace whether its origin is genetic or environmental. But few studies are conducted to know if a gene is an underlying cause of developing depression or not. The outcomes of these studies reveal that genetics may increase the likelihood of a person developing depression, but it does not necessarily happen.
To know how depression may run in families, we will share a brief intro on hereditary diseases and then move forward to find the link between depression and genetics.
What Is A Hereditary Disease?
Any disease that has a genetic origin and can pass from generation to generation is called a Hereditary Disease. The symptoms of such a condition may occur later in life. These diseases usually happen due to alterations in genes, and most of them are not curable. However, using specific methods or therapies, the symptoms can be managed.
Some common hereditary diseases are blood disorders, Down syndrome, Huntington’s disease, cystic fibrosis, etc.
Experts say that if a person from your family or relative (who is your blood relation) suffers from depression, it increases your risk three to five times to develop the symptoms sooner or later. In addition, a person is more susceptible to depression or anxiety if he has a parent, sibling, twin, or relative experiencing depression. Why? Because in families we share more or less similar sets of genes and pass from one generation to another. So, if you have a gene of depression, you may act as a vector for transmitting the disease to your children or siblings.
More research was carried out to find the exact gene of depression. But no success could be achieved. The experts found that not a single gene is responsible for depression. Instead, there are combinations of genes that may cause depression.
Types Of Depression
The most common, prevailing type of depression is clinical depression or major depression, also called a major depressive disorder.
Other types include:
- Atypical depression
- Situational depression
- Seasonal depression
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- Perinatal depression
- Depressive psychosis
- Manic or Bipolar depression
- Persistent depression
Symptoms Of Depression
All types of depression are distinctive to a certain level but share many common symptoms, such as:
- Sadness or anxiousness
- Changes in sleep
- Appetite changes
- Losing interest in hobbies
- Unable to focus
- Unexplained weight loss
Depression and Other Factors
Many other factors may play their role in developing depression in a person at any stage of their life.
These nonhereditary factors are:
- Personal experience (any trauma or stress)
- Sometimes, hormones
According to a few reports, women are more likely to develop depression in adulthood than men. Similarly, physical or emotional abuse, death of a loved one, failure in major life events such as job or marriage, substance abuse, and various potential factors may lead a person to suffer from depression.
It is sometimes curable with care and medications. But in some cases, depression can be a lifelong disorder.
Having someone in a family affected by depression does not mean you will develop the symptoms later. In many cases, it is also evident that people who didn’t have any family history of depression were diagnosed with depression at some point. Hence, genetics can only increase your probability of developing depression symptoms, but it isn’t necessary to happen. If someone in your family is showing symptoms, you will be aware of them so, in case if you develop symptoms, it will be easier to address the cause and initiate treatment.